Friday, January 7, 2011

Invisible Hand / Borrowed Beams of Light split on Funny / Not Funny Records

I remembered how much I was into the Invisible Hand single from last year and I started with that side first.
From the sleeve it looks like they're trying to say both of these bands share at least 2 members...look close... or they're 2 sets of twins who started rival bands? That would be pretty awesome.
F/NF packed 2 tracks on each side from each band, and the first one from Invisible Hand, 'Video Games' has a fuzzy kind of early Lilys feel, the same kind of density of melodic changes and blown out energy. It's such a force from the first drum stick count-in that just when you start to follow the melody, they go in a new harmonic direction. Invisible Hand isn't going to give you a whole lot of opportunities though to anticipate what's happening or even join in. You have to sit in awe as they pack the lyrics and change pieces into larger disparate structures that don't ever seem intuitive. I can't help but think of the Lilys again in that way. Those instrumental gymnastics.
'Your Parents Watch' (yikes) takes a more stripped down approach to that complex melody structure...there's more of an epic soaring quality to this arrangement and when the hook repeats, this time you catch on and really dig in. They have an amazing sense of rhythm, these all work together somehow and the guitar is perfectly balanced in this controlled chaos. He's working with a real distinct vocal style, combined with this dancy indie pop, it's taking me back to Clap Your Hands...., say what you will but that first album still hold up as a neo-Talking Heads concept album.

The Borrowed Beams of Light side starts out with "Julie (What's that spell?)" which jumps back musically at least a good 30 years, and it's a little scary that not one person in either of these bands was probably even born in the 70's, let alone have grown up absorbing this music in their formative years, so how in the hell did they completely nail this sound? This one is truly a lost recording of a forgotten Posies style, nearly import band. Sort of smooth psyche, a layered far off vocal with plenty of chorus-y guitar. There's just a far off feel... super classic, almost easy listening prog rock, that could easily be disguised in a k-tel's practically a period piece. A Sunday afternoon AM track that's inherently sad just in the way it's put together with the vocal distance.

The second track "Kids are great!!!" has a sort of bluesy scale that eventually turns frantically country western (?), or is part of that carnival era of the Kinks. The vocals are almost yelling in a drunken Pogues way, but it's about the Kids!!! There's a brief harmony breakdown moment before the shit kicking starts again. Bu then that's what I imagine 'the kids' do, rage and then pass out.
It's a little indie hybrid like Deer Tick, borrowing from that genre and kicking it into ho-down gear.

Get it from Funny / Not Funny, who says:

I’m not sure where to place the era this sounds like. Sorta mid-70’s yacht rocker, but also kinda 90’s indie rocker. Either way, its solid. These Virginians are making afternoon workin’ on the car in the yard music. Skipping stones down by the river music. Drinkin’ beer at the town’s summer carnival music. These are the film scenes I’m inventing in my head while listening to it, anyway.

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